Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Infected: What Happened to David Price (8)

eight: one step closer...

Sarabeth and I are seated at the kitchen table. She's taking in all the information I gave her about what happened in the past weeks. How I survived on what little food was left in the house; how I never went outside once. I can't mention Greta. For now, until I know more, she's as dead as everyone else.

"I'm truly sorry about what happened, David. I can empathize with you; I found my home abandonned," she takes a moment, "no sign of Charlotte. My mother-in-law was sprawled against the pavement, her skull cracked open. She turned though, before that. Jeanette...poor her." Sarabeth inhales deeply and steals a sip of her water. She continues, "I haven't heard from my husband or my father-in-law but I can only assume that they didn't make it back."

She pauses, as if she hadn't meant to speak those last words.

"Back where?" I ask, still doubtful of the Olsen's part in this...infection.

"I guess it doesn't matter anymore what people know. David, Charles and I were the ones who created the Tip-Shiziku virus." I can see her relax the moment she says it. She must have been weighted down by this secret for years. For some reason, I find myself pitying her.

"I somewhat already knew, Mrs. Olsen. I'm a huge theorist. I didn't know it had a name though. Tip-Suzuki?"

"Tip-Shiziku," she answers, slightly amused. The wrinkles that form when she smiles betray her age. She continues, "named so after the scientist who first discovered the...um...it's hard to explain. But Charles and I were the ones who were able to manipulate it into mass. We were hired by the US government; we worked closely with Robert Scott, the Secretary of Defense. Charles and his father were coming back to meet with him when it struck."

Her last few words barely came out and soon she broke into a sob. I got off my chair and went beside her, wrapped my arm around her shoulders, comforted her. We both needed it. Both our worlds have been shattered.

"David, I had nothing to do with what has happened. The virus was never suppose to be used. It was a threat, to calm the other nations. I promise, I had no part in this." Sarabeth says weakly. Mascara is tearing down her cheeks. She looks a mess.

"What exactly has happened?" I ask, and return to my seat.

"From what we were able to gather, the virus was released simultaneously around the world through food and beverages. To be more precised, whoever did this used Drake products to infect the population. Drake Foods broke record sales in the last trimester, David. Whoever did this, knew exactly what they were fucking doing."

"But how...I mean, it happened so quickly..." I can't wrap my mind around the thought that all this chaos was brought upon by food.

"The infection is...alive. Once someone has been infected, they can in turn infect someone else. Theorist, huh? You should know about the Vodun? The Zombies?" Sarabeth managed to wipe the mascara off her cheeks but she still looks somber. I think we all do. I think we will always be somber from now on.

"Yeah, but this quickly? The whole world turned to shit in two days. Two days, Mrs. Olsen." I say. My fingers curl up to form a fist. I'm not angry at her, I guess. I'm just angry that this - this fucking mess - is even happening at all.

"How many people you know start their day with Drake Juice? Or have Drake cheese for lunch, or even a Drake microwave diner? Didn't you enjoy Drake Cookies after supper David? Yeah, it was everywhere."

What she's saying is true. Everyone I know at school had at least one Drake product in their lunchbox. Mom only bought organic food which I always hated. But now, now I kinda appreciate that. If the Lochlans hadn't attacked us, we might have come out of this just fine. I wouldn't be alone. With Greta; I had almost forgotten about her.

"I should tell you why we're here, though. I need your help, David."

"My help? For what?" I ask, confused by her request.

"I need you to find Charlotte. And bring her to me." Sarabeth answers and I can hear torment in her voice.

"Charlotte! She's alive?" My heart skips a beat and I'm suddenly covered in goosebumps. I smile. For the first time in three weeks, I smile.

"Yes, she's alive. And David," Sarabeth pauses, looks away, "Charlotte has the cure to the infection."

My eyes widen and I gasp. A cure. A cure that could have saved my family.

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